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Morton Künstler (American, b.1931)


Also known as:  Kunstler, Mort; Kunstler, Morton; Mort Künstler

Birth Place: Brooklyn (Delaware County, New York state, United States)


Who is artist Morton Kunstler?

Morton Kunstler is an American painter and illustrator who is best known for his paintings of the American Civil War. His pieces have been used countless times over the decades for magazine and book covers, appearing in galleries and museums across the country. Beginning as a freelancer, Kunstler made his name by creating posters for famous movies like The Taking of Pelham One Two Three and The Poseidon Adventure. This led to a bigger audience and soon the illustrator was taking cover work for Reader’s Digest, Newsweek, and National Geographic.

1977 represented a huge shift for Morton Kunstler, who began to focus his prodigious talents on creating historical and military art. That year, he mounted his first major gallery exhibition. Kunstler has had many honors throughout his life, including becoming the official artist for Space Shuttle Columbia. He was featured in a documentary in 1993, Images of the Civil War -- The Paintings of Mort Kunstler. He has received the Henry Timrod Southern Culture Award, a Jefferson Davis Southern Heritage Award, and his iconic depiction of George Washington crossing the Delaware River was featured at the New York Historical Society.

What kind of art does Morton Kunstler make?

Morton Kunstler is an illustrator and painter who works within the realist genre, typically painting military battles or other notable events from American history. He has several preferred subjects but is perhaps best known for Washington Crossing (2011) which features George Washington’s famous crossing of the Delaware. His work featuring the American Civil War, the American Revolution, and the Korean and Vietnam Wars are all considered great examples of the genre. Additionally, he has painted non-military historical events like the immigrant experience at Ellis Island and the space shuttle Columbia. Kunstler’s work has been the subject of 8 different books, the most popular The American Spirit: Paintings of Mort Kunstler (1986) has been reprinted many times.

How did painter Morton Kunstler get started?

Mort Kunstler was born in 1931 in Brooklyn, New York. His early years were spent living in the fallout of the Great Depression. Kunstler’s father was also an artist and recognized his son’s talent at the tender age of two. By the time Kunstler reached kindergarten, his skills were already apparent to even casual observers. He graduated high school and attended Brooklyn College, where he also excelled as a diver on the swimming team. He received a basketball scholarship from UCLA, but after his father had a devastating heart attack, he returned home to New York -- enrolling at the Pratt Institute. After graduation from Pratt, he struggled for many years in the illustration field, before finding a niche in adventure magazines and other historical work.

How much is Morton Kunstler art worth?

Morton Kunstler art can be worth anywhere between $3,000 and $125,000 depending on the work. The most ever paid for a Morton Kunstler painting at auction is $125,000 for the piece Launch of the Space Shuttle Columbia, April 12, 1981. 7:00:10 EST from John F Kennedy Space Center Florida (1981) which sold on November 12th, 2016 by Heritage Auctions. This was nearly three times the high estimate. Heritage Auctions has sold several of Morton Kunstler’s pieces.

Where to buy Morton Kunstler art for sale?

See works for sale below. Why buy from Heritage? Art buyers feel confident because our experts know the market and put careful valuations on artwork for sale. We make the bidding process easier to help you expand your art collection.

How to value Morton Kunstler art?

The best way to value art is to compare past auction prices for similar works. View past sale prices below. When you’re ready to sell, contact Heritage Auctions to request an auction estimate of the likely selling price at auction. If you need a formal written appraisal for estate planning or insurance, please contact our Appraisal Services department.

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